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Ukraine to hike transit fees for Russian oil to EU

RT | November 22, 2022

Ukraine has announced plans to raise transit fees for Russian oil running through the Druzhba pipeline to the EU, due to higher costs resulting from Russian air and missile strikes targeting the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukrtransnafta, the operator of Ukraine’s oil pipeline network, is expected to increase tariffs for transporting crude to Hungary and Slovakia by €2.10 per ton to €13.60 ($13.90) starting on January 1, according to a letter from the company seen by Bloomberg. Its Russian counterpart Transneft confirmed to RIA Novosti that it has received a letter and is studying it.

“We are studying these proposals, preparing relevant reports to the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Energy Ministry,” Transneft spokesman Igor Demin told the agency.

The Ukrainian company has attributed the price hike to the “continued destruction of Ukrainian energy infrastructure” which has resulted in “a significant shortage of electricity, an increase in its costs, a shortage of fuel, spare parts.”

Ukrainian oil transit fees have already been raised twice this year. The last hike in April reportedly brought the total increase on an annualized basis to 51%.

Druzhba, one of the longest pipeline networks in the world, carries crude some 4,000km from Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A False Flag over Poland?

Scott Ritter Extra | November 18, 2022

As the saga surrounding the arrival of a Ukrainian S-300 surface-to-air missile on the soil of Poland, tragically taking the lives of two Polish civilians, unfolds, several narratives emerge. First is the hair-trigger Pavlovian response on the part of certain NATO nations (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Czech Republic) to jump to conclusions, announcing that this incident was a clear-cut case of Russian aggression against a NATO member requiring a NATO response inclusive of extending air defense coverage into Ukraine, as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone over parts of Ukraine. The second is the confusion that reigned at the highest levels in Ukraine regarding this incident, up to and including the refusal on the part of the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to acknowledge that the missile in question was of Ukrainian origin.

It appears that those NATO nations calling for the invocation of Article 4 of the NATO charter in the aftermath of the missile incident were primed to do so ahead of the fact. It also appears as if the actual launch of the missile was done without the knowledge and authority of the Ukrainian high command, including Zelensky and his top military advisors.

This could lead one to assess that Ukraine’s northern European NATO allies are simply looking for a fight with Russia with the kind of focused intensity of a lemming running toward a cliff, jumping on any story line which can be twisted and distorted in a manner designed to make NATO intervention in Ukraine viable to other, less enthusiastic member states.

Such an assessment would square with the notion, currently in favor amongst most NATO members and their compliant western media stenographers, that the Ukrainian S-300 missile impact in Poland was a tragic accident, with the missile in question being launched in response to a Russian missile barrage before suffering some sort of malfunction which sent it flying off course, toward its tragic destiny in a Polish farmer’s field.

From an analysis of the basic geometry of the Ukrainian air defense battlefield, this narrative does not withstand scrutiny. Incoming Russian missiles approach Ukraine from roughly an east-to-west trajectory. As such, Ukrainian air defense is layered to protect from a west-to-east perspective, with detection radars set up to pick up incoming targets as far out as possible, allowing tracking radars to be cued as needed to guide the surface-to-air missiles to their designated targets. Any S-300 missile fired against an incoming Russian target would be fired from a roughly west to east direction, following the radar beam toward its target. In short—a Ukrainian S-300 would be launched in a direction which is pretty much 180 degrees away from the path flown by the missile that hit Poland.

Generally speaking, if a missile malfunctions or loses radar track, it will continue to fly roughly in the same direction of launch. Any major deviation from this rule would mean that the control surfaces of the missile were malfunctioning or damaged, which means the missile would not be able to sustain a consistent trajectory and would as such tumble out of control. For the Ukrainian S-300 missile to have reached Poland, it would have required a fully functioning aerodynamic control system. In short, the missile did not malfunction.

Scott Ritter Extra is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Air defense missiles have, over history, had an inherent surface-to-surface capability. The nuclear-capable Nike-Hercules missile could be used in a surface-to-surface role. The Iraqis used Soviet-made SA-2 and SA-3 missiles as surface-to-surface missiles. And the SM-6 missile used by the US Navy and Army can strike targets both in the air and on the ground. While the S-300 was purposely designed as an air defense weapon (its warhead is a relatively small one, between 100 and 143 kilograms of high explosive), it could be used in a surface-to-surface mode simply by using its tracking radar to orient a beam in the desired direction, at an altitude which would permit a ballistic trajectory to be obtained once the missile expends its fuel. The missile would fly in the direction of the beam, and then fall to the ground in the desired arc.

In order to do this, however, a tracking radar beam would have had to have been employed in a manner which oriented it in the exact opposite direction of the incoming Russian targets, toward Poland.

In short, the Ukrainian S-300 which landed on Poland was not the result of an accident, but rather a deliberate action designed to have the missile impact Polish soil.

The Polish are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their two citizens. If, as it logically appears, the launch of the S-300 missile was a deliberate act, then Poland must view the Ukrainians as the perpetrators of a crime. As such, Poland should be demanding that the launcher and associated radars be removed from service and all records and data associated with the launch in question treated as evidence and turned over to the appropriate Polish prosecution authority. Likewise, all personnel involved in the launch of this missile must be detained and subjected to interrogation by trained criminal investigators.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, denies that Ukraine launched the missile in question, basing his belief on information provided by his senior air force and military commanders. If Zelensky is telling the truth, then there is a conspiracy within the Ukrainian military establishment to instigate a false flag incident designed to draw NATO into the conflict. Any investigation into the command-and-control procedures used in the launching of the missile that struck Poland should be able to determine how high up the chain of command this conspiracy existed.

Likewise, the hair-trigger-like response of Poland and the Baltic states in jumping to conclusions that blamed Russia for the attack on Poland despite their respective militaries knowing that the missile in question was Ukrainian, suggests a certain level of prior coordination between the perpetrators of the attack and those who immediately pointed an accusatory finger at Russia.

Let there be no doubt—any direct NATO-Russian military confrontation over Poland has the real potential to devolve into a general nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. Anyone in Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics who are involved in a conspiracy to drag NATO into the Ukraine conflict by promoting a false-flag attack represents a direct threat against every human being on the planet.

The US and its more responsible NATO partners need to get to the bottom of what transpired regarding the Ukrainian S-300 attack on Poland. Any failure to identify this false-flag conspiracy, if it in fact exists, and to nip it in the bud, only raises the real probability that those involved in such a conspiracy will try again, and again, until they fulfill their suicidal objective of a NATO-Russian conflict.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU plotting to force Hungary to pay more for oil

Samizdat | June 1, 2022

The EU is reportedly considering imposing import tariffs on Russian crude if any members of the bloc refuse to implement the terms of the newly announced embargo on oil from the country, the FT reported on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, EU member states reached an agreement on a partial ban of Russian crude from the bloc’s market. The cushioned embargo will affect about 75% of Russian oil imports, with that percentage growing to 90% by the end of the year.

However, the measure allows a temporary exemption for pipeline supplies, which was introduced to win the support of Hungary and other landlocked countries that had been blocking the proposal for about a month. The exemption reportedly didn’t come with any agreed timeframe, raising concerns that Budapest may continue importing Russian crude for as long as it wishes.

To avoid this scenario, the EU is seeking tariffs on Russian oil imports if Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban doesn’t ultimately commit to a cut-off date, according to a senior European Commission official, as quoted by media.

The proposal of tariffs would reportedly require a qualified majority vote among the 27 member states, rather than the unanimity that is needed for normal sanctions, so Hungary could not veto the measure.

“The preferred option is the import ban,” the senior commission official told the FT, adding that tariffs are an “alternative possibility we can look into”.

If imposed, the tariffs are expected to make Russian oil less competitive, potentially forcing Moscow to discount its crude or Hungary and other nations to pay more.

Russian crude delivered through the Druzhba pipeline to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, is reportedly 20% cheaper than the alternatives other member states have to use.

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 1 Comment

This week’s elections could pave way for Prague to Czech out of EU

By Paul A. Nuttall | RT | October 4, 2021

The elections in the Czech Republic later this week have largely been ignored, but the political situation in the country is not only compelling, it could have ramifications for the rest of Europe, and in particular for the EU.

Czechs go to the polls on Friday and Saturday in legislative elections that will determine who will lead the country for the next four years. These elections have been getting little attention in the international press, mainly because the focus has been on the elections taking place in Germany.

The Czech Republic has been led by a coalition government since 2017. The senior partner in the coalition is the ANO 2011 party, and its leader is the current Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Babis’ party is described as ‘populist’. An ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he recently attended the Demographic Summit in Budapest, where Babis and his counterparts from Poland, Serbia and Slovenia announced their intention to oppose further mass immigration in Europe.

Babis is also opposed to further EU integration and determined not to see the euro replacing the country’s current official currency, the koruna. He claims his party “will not hand over the sovereignty of the Czech Republic to the European Parliament or the European Commission.”

Recent polls put the ANO 2011 party in the lead with 27%. The main opposition parties, SPOLU (an alliance of liberals and conservatives) and the bizarrely named Pirates and Mayors party are polling around 21%. Both are committed to combining their votes in an alliance to force Babis from power.

Indeed, some commentators, who it must be said are firmly opposed to Babis’ politics, are predicting that the Czech Republic could be heading towards a constitutional crisis. However, it is expected that President Milos Zeman will use his constitutional powers to appoint the leader of the largest party as prime minister.

In all likelihood, this will be Babis, and it will give him the first opportunity to form a coalition. However, even if this is the case, he will be facing a big problem, as his current coalition partners have seen their support fall off a cliff recently.

The Social Democrats, who share power with Babis, are only polling between 4% and 6% and may not even make the 5% threshold to have candidates elected to parliament. And this puts Babis in a difficult position because, devoid of his main coalition partner, he will be forced to look elsewhere.

The ‘elsewhere’ in this case is most likely to be the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD), which is the most Eurosceptic political party in the country and is polling around 11%. The SPD is committed to a direct democracy law that will allow citizens to force referendums, and the one the party wants most is a referendum on Czech membership of the European Union.

SPD leader Tomio Okamura has made it clear that any negotiations for his party to join a future coalition will be conditional on holding such a referendum: “One of the fundamental conditions is for the government manifesto… to include a referendum law including the possibility of a referendum on leaving the EU or potentially NATO.”

Now this places Babis in a difficult position because, although he is a Eurosceptic, he does not envisage the Czech Republic leaving the EU anytime soon. Moreover, he is opposed to the idea of citizen-led referendums, or at least he would like prohibitive barriers implemented, such as a requirement for a huge number of signatories to force a referendum.

Another problem is that a direct democracy law would require the support of a three-fifths majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. However, the upper house, which is elected for a six-year term, is dominated by a pro-EU majority.

Nevertheless, the fact that an EU referendum is on the agenda could be seen as an outlier to where the Czech Republic is eventually headed. And let us not forget, the Czechs are not alone here. Recently, there have been noises in Budapest about the need for a referendum on EU membership in Hungary.

Although largely ignored, the elections in the Czech Republic this weekend will be fascinating, but even more enthralling could be the political “horse trading” that follows – the outcome of which could have ramifications for the rest of the EU.

Paul A. Nuttall is a historian, author and a former politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019 and was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.

October 4, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Czech Republic might have to destroy 45,000 AstraZeneca doses as demand for the jab nosedives

RT | September 13, 2021

Prague might have to dispose of thousands of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine doses as they expire next month. The demand for the jab recommended only to those over 60 years old due to possible side-effects remains low.

Some 55,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca and shipped to the Czech Republic are set to expire by the end of October, Czech radio station IROZHLAS reported. While some 10,000 of them are expected to be used to administer second doses, the remaining batches might have to be incinerated if the demand for the jab fails to shoot up.

So far, it has been hitting rock bottom. According to the data cited in the report, only 36 people have chosen AstraZeneca for their first dose in September, and a total of 774 people have been vaccinated with it so far.

In the span of July and August, only about 1,200 of those newly vaccinated opted for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, a tiny fraction of some 860,000 people who applied for their first dose within that period.

Some 14,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine were thrown away in the past month alone due to the lack of interest from the public, Czech media reported.

The apparent lack of popularity has been blamed on the fact that the Czech health ministry recommends AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccines only to those older than 60 years since June. The precaution was introduced after the vaccines were suspected of causing potentially deadly blood clots detected in some younger people after they received the jab. Although the cases are reported to be rare, several countries, including the Czech Republic, limited or halted the use of the vaccine.

Spokesman for the Czeh Ministry of Health, Daniel Köppl, admitted that the government expects that not all outstanding doses could be used before time runs out. And while Prague has donated over 200,000 of doses, including that of AstraZeneca, to other countries before, this time the batches can’t be salvaged due to legal hurdles, he told the outlet over the weekend.

The problem is that the unused doses have already been delivered and distributed across the country. “The law does not allow us to donate these vaccines, because the moment they are removed from the controlled distribution chain, they are expected to be used. They cannot be passed on,” Köppl said.

So far, some 55 percent of the eligible Chezh population have been fully vaccinated, while the authorities set 75% vaccination rate as their target.

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Czech politics in crisis over 2014 ammo depot explosions as President refuses to accept intelligence reports blaming Russia

By Jonny Tickle | RT | May 17, 2021

The Czech Republic’s internal spat over the 2014 ammunition depot explosions shows no signs of calming down, with President Milos Zeman refusing to accept Prague’s security service’s conclusions that Russia is to blame.

The dispute has now become so intense that both the country’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Minister of Justice Marie Benesova have gone on the attack against Zeman.

In October and December 2014, explosions took place at arms depots in Vrbetice, killing two people. Last month, Czech First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek revealed that the country’s authorities believe they know the identities of two men supposedly responsible for the explosions, and both allegedly work for Russian military intelligence.

Following the revelations, Prague expelled 18 of Russia’s diplomats, before later announcing that the Russian Embassy in the capital would be reduced to match the size of the Czech delegation in Moscow.

However, despite the conclusions of his country’s intelligence services, the Czech president is not convinced. Speaking on Sunday, Zeman told radio station Frekvence 1 that he is not convinced that there is only one explanation for the explosions, noting that he trusted the country’s police, but did not trust the security and information service. In particular, he suggested that the incidents were staged to cover up a shortage.

In response, Babis explained that there is only one theory for what happened.

“I explained to the president that the police are investigating only one version [of the story],” Babis said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “It is possible that there were more versions [in the past]. But I can’t explain why the president insists that there is more than one version [today].”

Justice head Benesova also backed up the prime minister, noting that the country only has one theory, blaming Russian military intelligence.

Moscow has denied any involvement, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling the allegations “inflammatory and unfriendly.”

May 17, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Mandatory vaccines are ‘necessary in democratic society,’ don’t infringe human rights, EU court rules

European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France. (FILE PHOTO) © Reuters / Vincent Kessler
RT | April 8, 2021

Making children get jabs for common diseases is ‘necessary in democratic society’ and is in their best interests, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday in a landmark decision against anti-vaxxers.

It’s the first time the ECHR has ruled on mandatory vaccinations for children against common diseases. While the case dealt with the Czech Republic’s laws that require schoolchildren to have jabs against diseases like whooping cough, tetanus and measles, it has implications when it comes to compulsory Covid jabs.

Nicolas Hervieu, a legal expert specializing in the ECHR, said the ruling reinforces the possibility of compulsory vaccination under the current coronavirus pandemic conditions.

A panel of judges ruled 16-1 that the Czech health policy that prevented unvaccinated children from attending nurseries or schools was consistent with “the best interests” of children.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society,” the court ruled.

“The objective has to be that every child is protected against serious diseases, through vaccination or by virtue of herd immunity.”

The judges dismissed the appeal brought by six Czech nationals who were fined for failing to comply with mandatory vaccination rules or whose children were denied admission to nursery school for the same reason. The parents had claimed that the mandatory jab rules violated their human rights.

“The objective had to be to protect every child against serious diseases,” the court ruled.

It said that the need for compulsory vaccination in the Czech Republic represented the national authorities’ answer to the pressing social need to protect individual and public health against diseases and “to guard against any downward trend in the rate of vaccination among children.”

The court said that while mandatory vaccinations raised sensitive issues, the value of social solidarity to protect the health of all members of society, particularly those who were especially vulnerable, required everyone to assume a minimum risk by having jabs.

There was no immediate reaction from the six who appealed the case to the ECHR.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 2 Comments

Why Homemade Masks Make Sense

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | April 1, 2020

On Tuesday March 10th – 22 days ago – approximately 55 people gathered for their weekly choir practice at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, an hour’s drive north of Seattle.

At that point in time, only 30 people had died of the coronavirus in the entire United States (compared to 4,000+ today). In a statement released since then, the Skagit Valley Chorale reminds us that, three weeks ago,

There were no closures of schools, restaurants, churches, bowling alleys, banks… or any other businesses. The advice from the State of Washington was to limit gatherings to 250 people.

The volunteer choir has 120 members, but everyone had been advised not to attend rehearsal if they were experiencing any symptoms of illness. According to a news story, the 60 people who showed up brought their own sheet music and refrained from shaking hands or hugging. A greeter provided hand sanitizer at the entrance, and everyone appeared to be healthy. When interviewed afterward, eight people in attendance agreed no one in the room was coughing or sneezing.

A few days later, however, numerous members began to feel feverish. The choir’s public statement explains:

By Monday, the 16th, twenty people had symptoms and we had the first positive test result. By Monday evening, 23 were ill, some of whom attended the rehearsal on March 10, some who had only attended on March 3, and some of whom did not attend either rehearsal… today [March 23rd] we know of at least 21 confirmed positives and 30 people (members and significant others) who are ill.

Two members of this choir have since died. Others have been hospitalized. In the words of Los Angeles Times journalist Richard Read, “The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.”

That’s the tricky thing about this virus. We can be carriers and not know it. Even if we wash our hands frequently, we may be infecting others far more easily than the experts have imagined possible.

As a result, a grassroots #Masks4ALL movement is gathering steam. Every time we open our mouths, micro droplets are released into the air. Some of these fall to the ground quickly. Others stay airborne for somewhat longer, and appear to travel farther than expected.

If we all start wearing homemade masks in public (sewn from new fabric, cut from old t-shirts, or improvised with bandanas and scarves), the volume of droplets in the air will decrease – which means fewer germs will be settling on, for example, the items currently lining grocery store shelves.

These masks won’t be equivalent to the N95 masks that keep medical staff safe. But remember that old saying: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Homemade masks will reduce the volume of germs now contaminating public spaces. If I protect you by wearing my mask, and you protect me by wearing yours, we’ll all improve our odds.

According to this video, the citizens of the Czech Republic began making and wearing masks of their own accord, in a grassroots movement that has swept the country.

Police officers who wear bulletproof vests can, of course, still be shot in the head. Homemade masks won’t guarantee our safety, but they provide significant protection.

There’s also the concept of viral load. Our bodies have a better chance of fighting off a smaller amount of virus compared to a higher concentration. A homemade mask may reduce the degree to which we become infected.

In many countries, the authorities have been understandably focused on reserving as many masks as possible for use by medical personnel. As a result, they appear to have blatantly lied to us about masks and the general population. If you don’t have time to watch all the videos embedded in this post, please consider the 3-and-a-half-minute one from the Czech Republic directly above.

There’s no reason to be passive. There’s no reason to wait for officials to come to their senses.

Each of us can make our own mask and start wearing it today.

#Masks4ALL

LINKS:

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Solidarity and Activism, Video | | Leave a comment

‘Shameless Racism’: 13 Countries Change Long-Standing Position on Palestine at UN

Palestine Chronicle – December 5, 2019

For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil, and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.

They had previously abstained on the vote.

The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favor.

The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The UK, France, and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on the Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Second Whistle Blown on the OPCW’s Doctored Report

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | December 3, 2019

Another whistleblower leak has exposed the fraudulent nature of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report on the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma, close to Damascus, on April 7 last year.

The first leak came from the Fact-Finding Mission’s engineering sub-group. After investigating the two sites where industrial gas cylinders were found in Douma and taking into account the possibility that the cylinders had been dropped from the air it concluded that there was a “higher probability” that both cylinders were placed at both sites by hand. This finding was entirely suppressed in the final report.

The engineering sub-group prepared its draft report “for internal review” between February 1-27, 2018. By March 1 the OPCW final report had been approved, published and released, indicating that the engineers’ findings had not been properly evaluated, if evaluated at all. In its final report the OPCW, referring to the findings of independent experts in mechanical engineering, ballistics and metallurgy, claimed that the structural damage had been caused at one location by an “impacting object” (i.e. the cylinder) and that at the second location the cylinder had passed through the ceiling, fallen to the floor and somehow bounced back up on to the bed where it was found.

None of this was even suggested by the engineers. Instead, the OPCW issued a falsified report intended to keep alive the accusation that the cylinders had been dropped by the Syrian Air Force.

Now there is a second leak, this time an internal email sent by a member of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on June 22, 2018, to Robert Fairweather, the British career diplomat who was at the time Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, and copied to his deputy, Aamir Shouket. The writer claims to have been the only FFM member to have read the redacted report before its release. He says it misrepresents the facts: “Some crucial facts that have remained in the redacted version have morphed into something quite different from what was originally drafted.”

The email says the final version statement that the team “has sufficent evidence to determine that chlorine or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical was likely released from the cylinders is highly misleading and not supported by the facts.” The writer states that the only evidence is that some samples collected at locations 2 and 4 (where the gas cylinders were found) had been in contact with one or more chemicals that contain a reactive chlorine atom.

“Such chemicals,” he continues, “could include molecular chlorine, phosgene, cyanogen chloride, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride or sodium hypochlorite (the major element in household chlorine-based bleach.”  Purposely singling out chlorine as one of the possibilities was disingenuous and demonstrated “partiality” that negatively affected the final report’s credibility.

The writer says the final report’s reference to “high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives detected in environmental samples” overstates the draft report’s findings. “In most cases” these derivatives were present only in part per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace qualitiea.” In such microscopic quantities, detected inside apartment buildings, it would seem, although the writer only hints at the likelihood, that the chlorine trace elements could have come from household bleach stored in the kitchen or bathroom.

The writer notes that the original draft discussed in detail the inconsistency between the victims’ symptoms after the alleged attack as reported by witnesses and seen on video recordings.  This section of the draft, including the epidemiology, was removed from the final version in its entirety. As it was inextricably linked to the chemical agent as identified, the impact on the final report was “seriously negative.” The writer says the draft report was “modified” at the behest of the office of Director-General, a post held at the time by a Turkish diplomat, Ahmet Uzumcu.

The OPCW has made no attempt to deny the substance of these claims. After the engineers’ report made its way to Wikileaks its priority was to hunt down the leaker. Following the leaking of the recent email, the Director-General, Fernando Arias, simply defended the final report as it stood.

These two exposures are triply devastating for the OPCW.  Its Douma report is completely discredited but all its findings on the use of chemical weapons in Syria must now be regarded as suspect even by those who did not regard them as suspect in the first place. The same shadow hangs over all UN agencies that have relied on the OPCW for evidence, especially the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, an arm of the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).

This body is closely linked to the OPCW and while both mostly hide the sources of their information it is evident that where chemical weapons allegations have been made, the commission of inquiry has drawn on the OPCW.

As of January 2018, the commission reported on 34 “documented incidents” of chemical weapons use by various parties in Syria. It held the Syrian government responsible for 23 of them and, remarkably, did not hold the armed groups responsible even for one, despite the weight of evidence showing their preparation and use of such weapons over a long period of time.

The commission has made repeated accusations of chlorine barrel bombs being dropped by government forces. On the worst of the alleged chemical weapons attacks, on August 21, 2013, in the eastern Ghouta district just outside Damascus, it refers to sarin being used in a “well-planned indiscriminate attack targetting residential areas [and] causing mass casualties. The perpetrators likely had access to the Syrian military chemical weapons stockpile and expertise and equipment to manipulate large amounts of chemical weapons.”

This is such a travesty of the best evidence that no report by this body can be regarded as impartial, objective and neutral.   No chemical weapons or nerve agents were moved from Syrian stocks, according to the findings of renowned journalist Seymour Hersh. The best evidence, including a report by Hersh (‘The Red Line and the Rat Line,’ London Review of Books, April 17, 2014), suggests a staged attack by terrorist groups, including Jaysh al Islam and Ahrar al Sham, who at the time were being routed in a government offensive. The military would have had no reason to use chemical weapons: furthermore, the ‘attack’ was launched just as UN chemical weapons inspectors were arriving in the Syrian capital and it is not even remotely credible that the Syrian government would have authorized a chemical weapons attack at such a time.

Even the CIA warned Barack Obama that the Syrian government may not have been/probably was not responsible for the attack and that he was being lured into launching an air attack in Syria now that his self-declared ‘red line’ had been crossed. At the last moment, Obama backed off.

It remains possible that the victims of this ‘attack’ were killed for propaganda purposes. Certainly, no cruelty involving the takfiri groups, the most brutal people on the face of the planet, can be ruled out. Having used the occasion to blame the Syrian government, the media quickly moved on. The identities of the dead, many of them children, who they were, where they might have been buried – if in fact they had been killed and not just used as props – were immediately tossed into the memory hole. Eastern Ghouta remains one of the darkest unexplained episodes in the war on Syria.

The UN’s Syria commission of inquiry’s modus operandi is much the same as the OPCW’s. Witnesses are not identified; there is no indication of how their claims were substantiated; the countries outside Syria where many have been interviewed are not identified, although Turkey is clearly one; and where samples have had to be tested, the chain of custody is not transparent.

It is worth stepping back a little bit to consider early responses to the OPCW report on Douma. The Syrian government raised a number of questions, all of them fobbed off by the OPCW.  Russia entered the picture by arranging a press conference for alleged victims of the ‘attack’ at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague.  They included an 11-year-old boy, Hassan Diab, who said he did not know why he was suddenly hosed down in the hospital clinic, as shown in the White Helmets propaganda video.

All the witnesses dismissed claims of a chemical weapons attack. Seventeen countries (Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the US) then put out a joint statement (April 26, 2018) expressing their full support for the OPCW report and dismissing the “so-called” information session at the Hague as a Russian propaganda exercise. Their statement claimed the authenticity of the information in the OPCW report was “unassailable.”

Russia followed up with a series of questions directed at the OPCW’s technical secretariat. It noted that the OPCW report did not mention that samples taken from Douma were “split” in the OPCW’s central laboratory in the Netherlands and not in the Syrian Arab republic. Fractions of samples were handed to Syria only after six months of insistent pressure (OPCW response: its terms of reference provided for Syria to be provided with samples “to the extent possible” but do not specify when or where samples should be ‘split’).

Russia also referred to the collection of 129 samples and their transfer to OPCW-designated laboratories. 31 were selected for the first round of analysis and an additional batch of 13 sent later. Of the 129 samples 39 were obtained from individuals living outside territory controlled by the Syrian army. Of 44 samples analyzed 33 were environmental and 11 biomedical: of the 44, 11 (four environmental and seven biomedical) were obtained from alleged witnesses.

As remarked by the Russian Federation, the OPCW report does not explain the circumstances in which these samples were obtained. Neither is there any information on the individuals from whom they were taken; neither is there any evidence demonstrating compliance with the chain of custody (OPCW response: there was respect for the chain of custody, without this being explained; the “standard methodology” in collecting samples was applied, without details being given.  It stressed the need for privacy and the protection of witness identities).

Russia observed that the samples were analyzed in two unnamed OPCW laboratories and on the evidence of techniques and results, it raised the question of whether the same laboratories had been used to investigate earlier ‘incidents’ involving the alleged use of chlorine. Of the 13 laboratories that had technical agreements with the OPCW, why were samples analyzed at only two, apparently the same two as used before?  Russia also observed that of the 33 environmental samples tested for chlorinated products, there was a match (bornyl chloride) in only one case.

Samples taken from location 4, where a gas cylinder was allegedly dropped from the air, showed the presence of the explosive trinitrotoluene, leading to the conclusion that the hole in the roof was made by an explosion and not by a cylinder falling through it (OPCW response: the Fact-Finding Mission did not select the labs and information about them is confidential. As there had been intense warfare for weeks around location four, the presence of explosive material in a broad range of samples was to be expected but this did not – in the OPCW view –  lead to the conclusion that an explosion caused the hole in the roof).

Russia pointed out that the FFM interviewed 39 people but did not interview the actual witnesses of the ‘incident’ inside the Douma hospital who appeared and were easily identifiable in the staged videos (OPCW response: the secretariat neither confirms nor denies whether it interviewed any of the witnesses presented by Russia at the OPCW headquarters “as any statement to that effect would be contrary to the witness protection principles applied by the secretariat”).

Russia also pointed out the contradictions in the report on the number of alleged dead. In one paragraph the FFM says it could not establish a precise figure for casualties which “some sources” said ranged between 70 and 500. Yet elsewhere “witnesses” give the number of dead as 43 (OPCW response: the specific figure of 43 was based on the evidence of “witnesses” who claimed to have seen bodies at different locations).

Russia also pointed out that no victims were found at locations 2 and 4, where the ventilation was good because of the holes in the roof/ceiling. Referring to location 2, it asked how could chlorine released in a small hole from a cylinder in a well-ventilated room on the fourth floor have had such a strong effect on people living on the first or second floors? (OPCW response: the FFM did not establish a correlation between the number of dead and the quantity of the toxic chemical. In order to establish such a correlation, factors unknown to the FFM – condition of the building, air circulation and so on – would have had to be taken into account.  It does not explain why this was not attempted and how it could reach its conclusions without taking these “unknown factors” into account).

Finally, Russia raised the question of the height from which the cylinders could have been dropped. It referred to the lack of specific calculations in the OPCW report. The ‘experts’ who did the simulation did not indicate the drop height. The charts and diagrams indicated a drop height of 45-180 meters. However, Syrian Air Force helicopters do not fly at altitudes of less than 2000 meters when cruising over towns because they would come under small arms fire “at least” and would inevitably be shot down.

Furthermore, if the cylinders had been dropped from 2000 meters,  both the roof and the cylinders would have been more seriously damaged (OPCW response: there were no statements or assumptions in the FFM report on the use of helicopters or the use of other aircraft “or the height of the flight. The FFM did not base its modeling on the height from which the cylinders could have been dropped. “In accordance with its mandate,” the FFM did not comment on the possible altitude of aircraft.  The OPCW did not explain why these crucial factors were not taken into account).

In its conclusion, Russia said there was a “high probability” that the cylinders were placed manually at locations 2 and 4 and that the factual material in the OPCW report did not allow it to draw the conclusion that a toxic chemical had been used as a weapon. These conclusions have now been confirmed in the release of information deliberately suppressed by the OPCW secretariat.

As the leaked material proves, its report was doctored: by suppressing, ignoring or distorting the findings of its own investigators to make it appear that the Syrian government was responsible for the Douma ‘attack’ the OPCW can be justly accused of giving aid and comfort to terrorists and their White Helmet auxiliaries whom – the evidence overwhelmingly shows – set this staged ‘attack ’up.

Critical evidence ignored by the OPCW included the videoed discovery of an underground facility set up by Jaysh al Islam for the production of chemical weapons.   All the OPCW said was that the FFM inspectors paid on-site visits to the warehouse and “facility” suspected of producing chemical weapons and found no evidence of their manufacture.  There is no reference to the makeshift facility found underground and shown in several minutes of video evidence.

Since the release of the report, the three senior figures in the OPCW secretariat have moved/been moved on. The Director-General at the time, Hasan Uzumlu, a Turkish career diplomat, stepped out of the office in July 2018: Sir Robert Fairweather, a British career diplomat and Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, was appointed the UK’s special representative to Sudan and South Sudan on March 11, 2019: his deputy, Aamir Shouket,  left the OPCW in August 2018, to return to Pakistan as Director-General of the Foreign Ministry’s Europe division. The governments which signed the statement that the evidence in the OPCW report was “unassailable” remain in place.

Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East.  His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Strange Things Happen to European Countries Resisting George Soros’ Assault

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 28.03.2018

Strange things happen in East and Central Europe that get little mention from media outlets. Two heads of state, the PMs of Slovenia and Slovakia, resigned almost simultaneously. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was a victim of the scandal over the murder of Jan Kuciak, a journalist who was investigating government corruption. The PM had to step down amid mass street protests.

Mr. Fico was known for his support of a stronger Visegrad Group. He opposed Brussels on many issues. It’s worth noting that he called for lifting sanctions and improving relations with Moscow. The PM was adamant that Russia was a reliable energy partner. Is it a coincidence that he was forced to resign amid the anti-Russia campaign triggered by the Skripal case and other obviously concocted stories used as false pretexts for incessant attacks on Moscow? Wasn’t he a threat to the so-called unity of the EU against Russia? He definitely was.

The PM did not hide the fact that his decision was made under great pressure. The ouster was engineered by outside forces, including philanthropist billionaire George Soros. For instance, Slovak President Andrej Kiska had a private meeting with the billionaire in September, 2017. It was a one-on-one conversation. No Slovak diplomat was present there.

According to Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, “George Soros is a man who has had a major influence on the development in Eastern and Central Europe and beyond. That is a fact that cannot be questioned.” PM Viktor Orbán had this say about the event: “George Soros and his network are making use of every possible opportunity to overthrow governments that are resisting immigration.”

Slovenian PM Miro Cerar was attacked by Soros for his opposition to the EU policy on immigration. George Soros did not hide the fact that he was an ardent opponent of Miro Cerar’s stance. “It is an obligation for Europe to receive migrants,” the US financier lectured Europeans. Now the PM has to go, after the results of a referendum on a key economic project were annulled by the top court and the media attacks on his stance regarding asylum seekers intensified. With Cerar no longer at the helm, the opposition movement to Brussels’s dictatorship has been weakened.

Who’s next? Probably Hungary, which has become a target for Soros’s attacks. The American billionaire has invested more than $400 million into his native country since 1989. He has also announced his intention to influence the Hungarian election campaign and has employed 2,000 people for that purpose. The government wants its “Stop Soros” bills to become laws. No doubt Hungary will come under attack for opposing the financier’s network.

Brussels will raise a hue and cry, criticizing the “undemocratic regime” ruling the country. The next parliamentary elections in Hungary will be held on April 8, 2018. It’ll be a tough fight to preserve independence while fending off attempts to impose US pressure through Soros-backed NGOs and educational institutions.

Soros’s activities are also being resisted in the Czech Republic. Czech President Milos Zeman has accused the groups affiliated with Soros of meddling in his nation’s internal affairs. The financier is urging the EU to lean on Poland and compel it to “preserve the rule of law.”

Macedonia, is also resisting the billionaire-inspired subversive activities that have an eye toward regime change. The “Soros network” has great influence on the European Parliament and other institutions. The scandalous list of Soros’s allies  includes 226 MEPs out of 751. Every third member — just think about that! If that isn’t corruption then what is? The lawmakers being swayed from abroad dance to Soros’s tune. They do what they are told, which includes whipping up anti-Russia hysteria.

Moscow has its own history of dealing with the Soros network. In 2015, George Soros’s Open Society Institute was kicked out of that country as an “undesirable organization” that was established to boost US influence.

It would be really naïve to think that Soros acts on his own. It’s an open secret that the US government flagrantly meddles in other countries’ internal affairs using the billionaire as a vehicle. Europe is an American competitor that needs to be weakened. USAID and the Soros network often team up in pursuit of common objectives. In March 2017, six US senators signed a letter asking the State Department to look into government funding of Soros-backed organizations. But those efforts went nowhere, Foggy Bottom is always on Soros’s side, whatever it is.

Many European countries are engaged in a fierce battle to protect their independence. The financier’s “empire” is chomping at the bit to conquer Europe by means of bribes and subversive NGOs. These countries and Russia are resisting the same threat. Perhaps that’s why the sanctions against Russia are so unpopular among many East European politicians.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 European leaders call for new arms deal with Russia

RT | November 26, 2016

Fifteen European countries, headed by Germany, have issued a statement pushing for the reopening of “a new structured dialogue” with Russia aimed at preventing a possible arms race in Europe, according to the German foreign minister.

The countries, all belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), have expressed their deep concern over the current situation in Europe and support the relaunch of a conventional arms treaty with Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Die Welt newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

“Europe’s security is in danger. As difficult as ties to Russia may currently be, we need more dialogue, not less,” Steinmeier said.

The ongoing conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and the fact that Crimea joined Russia in 2014, a move most often dubbed as “annexation” by western officials, have put the question of war in Europe back on the table, Steinmeier continued. Fragile trust between Russia and European countries has suffered a significant setback and a “new armament spiral” is hanging over the continent, the foreign minister warned.

The statement contains strong anti-Russian rhetoric, blaming Moscow for violating arms deals as far back as 1990.

“The Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which led to the destruction of tens of thousands of heavy weapon systems in Europe in the years following 1990, is no longer being implemented by the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

Russia put its participation in the treaty on hold in 2007 and then fully walked out of it last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the suspension of the treaty following a US decision to locate missile defense facilitates in the neighbouring Czech Republic and Poland. On top of that, President Putin noted that some of the NATO members did not join or ratify the treaty and there was no point in Russia abiding by the agreement.

Later Putin signed a decree suspending the treaty due to “extraordinary circumstances … which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures,” having notified NATO and its members of the decision.

Since then NATO has taken no steps to upgrade the treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in September, 2016, adding that Moscow is ready for dialogue on the subject. However, it is not planning to be the one to initiate it.

The statement names a number of other documents that need to be overviewed, including the OSCE’s Vienna document, stipulating the exchange of information on military movements, and the Open Skies treaty, enabling the monitoring of other countries’ ground forces. The documents are either neglected or in need of modernization.

The countries that spoke in favor of Steinmeier’s initiative include France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Portugal.

The group of the European foreign ministers is planning to meet again on the sidelines of a OSCE meeting in Hamburg on December, 8-9.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment